A blessed people

The gathering of scattered Israel is one of the most important teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

And, "we not only teach this doctrine, but we participate in it. We do so as we help to gather the elect of the Lord on both sides of the veil" (see Elder Russell M. Nelson, General Conference, October 2006; Ensign November 2006, p. 80).

On its face, the gathering of scattered Israel on both sides of the veil seems to attend to two imperatives of the three-fold mission of the Church: redeeming the dead and proclaiming the gospel.

But, in practice, it attends to all three. If members of the Church will attend, with righteous vigor and honest hearts, to these two opportunities, they will, in so doing, have already done much to "perfect" themselves (the saints), by offering priceless service to others.

In fact, no greater service can be rendered in mortality.

This, then, should be a central focus and goal of our journey through mortality.

The need and purpose of this great work — and the keys and authority necessary to accomplish it — are well-proclaimed and well-described in the 110th Section of the Doctrine and Covenants. In the Kirtland Temple in 1836, ancient prophets restored essential priesthood keys. Those now-restored keys permit — and command — the gathering of the Lord's children into His kingdom, where they may avail themselves to the essential ordinances and covenants of exaltation.

Anciently, that duty — and the accom-panying blessings — were given to Abraham. By covenant, the Lord promised that He would bless Abraham above measure and that Abraham would be a blessing to his posterity. Further, the Lord promised Abraham — and Abraham's seed — that they would bear the ministry and the priesthood unto all nations, so that all the families of the earth would be blessed with the gospel, salvation and life eternal (See Abraham 2: 9, 11).

Today, that same blessing and promise — as well as the attendant duties — rests with us, Abraham's seed. "For as many as receive this Gospel ... shall be accounted thy seed" (see Abraham 2:10). Having received the gospel, we are Abraham's seed.

What a joyous opportunity. What a remarkable blessing. The Lord, in His kindness, has allowed us to help bring exaltation to His children, our brothers and sisters. Not only, then, do we partake of the joy of blessing others, but we become heirs to the blessings of the Abrahamic covenant. So, as promised, we, too, can be blessed "above measure."

Are Latter-day Saints, then, a chosen people? And, if so, what does that mean?

"Being an heir to the Abrahamic covenant does not make one a 'chosen person' per se, but does signify that such are chosen to responsibly carry the gospel to all the peoples of the earth" (see "Abrahamic Covenant" in the Bible Dictionary).

So, yes, we are chosen: chosen to go forward, chosen to carry on, chosen to build the kingdom, chosen to do the work of this great ministry.

And as we fulfill our responsibility of being chosen, we, too, become heirs of the covenant. We will be blessed "above measure."

Some how, some way — as we more deeply understand this covenant opportunity — we will inescapably also come to more deeply love those to whom we minister. By feeling in our hearts of the Lord's great love for us — as witnessed in this covenant and in countless other ways — we develop a similar love. We serve, not because we are obligated, but because we want to and because we so love our fellowmen. Like the sons of Mosiah, we simply can't "bear that any human soul should perish" (see Mosiah 28:3).

Clearly, we are blessed people.

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